Hey guess what? This is the 200th post of Sellers Abroad! Man, has it come a long way (seriously take a look at my very first post. It’s crap). What started as just a little thing I did for my family and friends at home to keep track of me so I wouldn’t have to email and message everyone all the time, has morphed into a blog full of my personal stories all around the world that scores upon scores of countries read everyday! Even some countries I’ve never heard of. Blogging on the road takes a lot of discipline, but I love writing about everything so much it rarely feels like a chore. Sometimes. How am I celebrating this personal feat? By road tripping all the way from San Jose, Costa Rica to Detroit, Michigan! A total of close to 4,000 miles or a little more than 6000 kilometers. Why would you do this to yourself?
There are a few reasons as to why I’m opting to go overland instead of flying. One, my bag is freakin’ heavy from all the sand I’ve been collecting over the past few months. I’d pay a baggage fee for being over the weight limit. Surely, the total fees in flying costs will still probably be cheaper than traveling overland. But, I am also worried about my sand making it past immigration at the airports.
Two, it’s still really REALLY cold in Michigan based on all the complaining about how cold it is right now I see on my Facebook feed. Road trippin’ will extend my summery winter just a little while further.
Three, this allows me to visit or revisit other areas in Latin America as I make my way back up. I plan on stopping in Antigua, Guatemala for a couple of days and then onward to Mexico City.
This is the final leg of my trip that began in July of 2014. I left Dani’s house around 1:30am after a whole day of birthday partyin’ with my friend Mr. Open Bar. I booked a one-way trip to Antigua, Guatemala via Ticabus, a bus company known to travel all along Central America. It is going to take a little less than two days to get there with a night’s stop in San Salvador, El Salvador. Ughhh.
The ride from San Jose to the border wasn’t too bad. I was sleeping most of the way. All the passengers had to exit the bus and go through immigration before we got back on the bus through Nicaragua. The whole ordeal took about an hour. We zipped through Nicaragua. However, by this time I wasn’t sure if I was getting motion sick, a hangover, or both. They feel the same and I hated it. I also hated that everytime when I was finally able to fall asleep, we had to get out the bus to go through immigration. Not just ourselves but each time we had to take our bags out for a seemingly random inspection. Everytime we did that, I would worry for my sand bottles. They do look sketchy and what other person do you know collects water bottles full of sand? My bag didn’t look nearly as suspicious as the other passengers though. One guy for real brought a wooden toy chest. Target!
Another nuisance about these borders are the hoards of pesty merchants. No one wants to buy your knock-off watches at seven in the morning or ever. A lot of the useless junk they sell is stolen and rigged from people such as traveling gringos like myself. I always politely so no.
The border in Honduras was annoying too. We stood around and waited forever in the heat for our passports to get stamped. My Spanish is still pretty pathetic and I hadn’t a clue what was ever going on. Still when you travel as much as I do, you kinda have that intuition on what to do.
The Honduras border to El Salvador though is where I was the most nervous. We exited the bus with our bags escorted by a crew of armed border patrolers. They made the passengers line up next to each with our bags about 20 feet in front of us.
A german sheppard came and sniffes our bags and our persons for any trace of anything suspicious. I didn’t have anything illegal on me so I wasn’t worried. A couple officers began scoping the luggages. One guy turned on his flashlight and shined his light on my bag and then on me, waving his finger to for me to come to him. Shit. Please don’t make me open my bag. My sand is buried all the way at the bottom and I’d be really pissed and disappointed if I had to dump them. He spoke to me in Spanish but for the sake of writing, I’ll translate in English.
“You have coca? Marijuana?” he asked me with a creepy smug.
“No drugs”, I said. That’d be the day.
“Why not?” he asked me, still with that creep grin.
I laughed. “I have no more room in my bag!”
Seems the inspection was pretty random and surprisingly I didn’t get asked to open my bag and thank God because those bottles of sand look mighty suspicious. Other people though weren’t so fortunate. Some had to practically empty out their bags and then put them through the conveyor belt. The poor guy with the toy chest always had to empty out his luggage at every border we crossed.
I spent the night in a comfy hotel in San Salvador before we continued on at 6am the next morning. Once we finally arrived in Guatemala City, I had to pay a taxi to get to Antigua. The chicken bus would have been a much cheaper option but by this point I was beat and wanted an easy ride back to Antigua. One I got there, it was about 3pm. I was hot, sweaty, and stinky but all with a smile. I was happy to be back in Antigua. I walked straight to Olga’s unannounced and knocked at her door. She knew I’d be back but was never sure when exactly. And thankfully she had another room made for me upon that hour.
I was only in Antigua for a couple of days but made the most of it. I surprised some of my students and saw them again.
Hung out with some friends that live in Antigua and relaxed my butt off before I continued onto Mexico City. Some of my older students even took me out to Santa Domingo and then to the Sunset Terrace.
The company I booked through would take me as far as San Cristobal, Mexico. From there I’d have to find my way up north to Mexico City, the last major destination of this trip!
Here’s to another hundred posts in new places for me to discover and explore with crazy tales to share with you!
Four more posts left…